It’s way too tempting, on the way back from lectures, to resign yourself getting a soup or a fridge chilled baguette in the library café. As much as I love cooking, I hate figuring out what to make when I’m already so hungry; all I’ll manage to make is egg and soldiers, eating cold leftovers out of the fridge to pass those four minutes to a soft boil. This pasta is almost as easy to make. Essentially the topping for bruschetta, this sauce is raw, so it’s ready when your penne is. As obvious as it sounds, the better your ingredients, the better your lunch. Tomatoes are not the best at the moment, but if you spend a little extra for the ones on the vine, or take the time to halve a bunch of cherry tomatoes, you can eat this year round. Extra virgin olive oil is also key, as it has a flavour of its own and so many health benefits you can be really generous with it. After a few minutes marinating the oil will really take on the flavours of the garlic, basil, tomato, and chili. Fat bite sized pasta shapes work best with this rough sauce, if you can find the dish shaped orrechiette, which weirdly means “little ears”, then grab it. This holds up pretty well in a packed lunch too.
Fresh tomato, chili, and basil pasta
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large pinch chili flakes, or as much fresh as you want
handful basil leaves, roughly torn
extra virgin olive oil
200 grams pasta of your choice
Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente. Combine all oter ingredients in a large bowl, adding a generous amount of olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning. Add drained pasta to the bowl and stir thoroughly; the heat from the pasta will bring the flavours together.